The large Caribbean-American community in Broward County is being called out for its reluctance to take the COVID-19 vaccination.
Despite the CDC announcing that vaccinated Americans can ditch masks and social distancing, the United States is still on a quest to achieve herd immunity. In the state of Florida, with the easing of restrictions, the COVID-19 vaccination rate in South Florida has slowed dramatically, with Broward County Mayor Steve Geller lamenting that not enough residents are taking the vaccine.
At a press briefing on May 19th, Mayor Geller also singled out the Caribbean-American community, which he says have been hesitant to take the shot since the start of vaccinations in December.
“We have seen in Broward County, some of our southern zip codes and some areas of West Broward show an alarming discrepancy in the percentage of people vaccinated. We’ve seen vaccine hesitancy particularly among the English-speaking and French-speaking Caribbean-American communities. Again, it does not matter your age, ethnicity, or national origin. I am urging everybody to protect themselves, their loved ones and their community. Get vaccinated. COVID is not over,” he said.
Mayor Geller noted that since state Governor Ron DeSantis rescinded COVID-19 restrictions, many South Florida residents seem to think that the country is at the end of the pandemic.
“When you have roughly 60 percent of the adult population vaccinated, you would expect the [COVID-19] numbers to continue to improve. However, I have sensed almost a sense of giddiness that the COVID crisis is now completely over. It is not completely over. It has been substantially improving and if we continue to use common sense precautions, it is our hope that we can beat this,” he said.
Some 60 percent of Broward County’s adult population have been vaccinated, according to Mayor Geller. At least 70 percent of the population needs to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.
Mayor Geller noted that of Broward County’s total population, including residents under the age of 18, only 47 percent of residents have been vaccinated. He said that in the last few weeks, vaccination rates have slowed in the county.
The slow uptake has caused several sites in Broward and Miami-Dade to close down or change operations. The Hard Rock Stadium in Miami is ending COVID testing to focus more on vaccines. In Broward, the T.Y. Park and Tradewinds sites are among those that closed this month.
Several vaccination sites are still open in South Florida. But local leaders say they are now shifting focus to pop-up sites in an attempt to provide access to different communities.